Hugo Broos hoping to emulate Belgium's rise with Bafana Bafana


Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos is hoping to emulate Belgium's meteoric rise on the international scene.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia, Broos hit out at South Africa's domestic clubs over what he perceived to be a lack of cooperation, suggesting that his preparations were being sabotaged by elements within the local game.

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The Belgian tactician appealed to clubs to assist, rather than hinder him in his role for the benefit of the entire country, and used his homeland's meteoric rise over the last decade as the perfect case study for the benefits of a successful national team.

"...When it is going good with Bafana Bafana, the value of the players increases when you have a good national team," Broos said.

"And I know what I am talking about, see what happened in my country. Fifteen years ago, nobody wanted a Belgian player, now everyone wants a Belgian player. So, directly, there are advantages to clubs.

"The interest in South African football increases when it is going good with the national team. Now in Europe, when we are speaking about African football, we are speaking about Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, but never about South Africa, never.

"So, if you have a good national team, you can be sure that everyone will begin to have an interest in South African football.

"Sponsoring! Who is interested in sponsoring South African football when there is no interest? In Belgium, they had to look very hard to find a sponsor 15 years ago, now the [sponsors are lining up] in the road outside the building of the federation.

"So, everyone is advantaged if Bafana Bafana does well..."

Fifteen years ago, Belgium were ranked outside the top 50 in the global FIFA World Ranking and failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments, as well as the 2004, 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships. 

However, the Red Devils have enjoyed a remarkable resurgence since then and are now the highest-ranked nation in the world, having held the position since September 2018, and finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Scroll through the gallery to see the highest-ranked African nations in the world